June 22, 2009 11:00 AM
Murder Charge For Teen Lovebirds
Steven Colver, Tylar Witt
EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. (CBS/AP) After spending a week on the run with his underage girlfriend, a 19-year-old California man has been charged in the stabbing death of the girlfriend's mother, who didn't approve of their relationship.
El Dorado County prosecutors on Friday alleged Steven Colver committed premeditated murder by using a knife to kill 47-year-old Joanne Witt. The charges could allow authorities seek the death penalty.
Prosecutors also filed a sealed juvenile petition against Witt's 14-year-old daughter, Tylar. The couple is being held without bail pending Monday court appearances. Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jim Byers says the 14-year-old does not have a lawyer. An attorney he said might be representing Colver did not immediately return a telephone message Friday.
The couple was arrested Wednesday at a mall south of San Francisco, two days after Witt's body was discovered inside her El Dorado Hills home in an upscale gated community 30 miles outside Sacramento.
Co-workers had reported Witt had failed to show up for work weeks ago.
Byers said Wednesday authorities were waiting for the results of an autopsy to determine when Witt died.
Investigators do not yet have a theory on whether Colver or Tylar Witt committed the murder, or if both participated. But Byers told some media outlets that detectives believe Joanne Witt did not approve of the relationship between her daughter and Colver.
"We believe the mother's trying to prevent the relationship may have led to this," he said.
El Dorado County Sheriff's Department Capt. Craig Therkildsen said he could not comment on a report that Joanne Witt had recently filed a complaint with police against Colver for an alleged sexual relationship the teen had with her daughter.
(AP Photo/El Dorado County Sheriff)
The coroner has not issued a cause of death, but Therkildsen said it was a "traumatic death and it was caused by, we believe, a kitchen knife type of instrument." Authorities have not recovered the murder weapon, Therkildsen said.
Authorities had been called to the Witts' home before. A 14-year-old was booked into juvenile hall May 18 for assaulting her mother at the residence, according to a police report. Authorities confirmed that the 14-year-old was Tylar Witt.
Byers said police recovered a car on Tuesday they believe the teens abandoned in downtown San Francisco. They also searched a hotel room where they believe the couple stayed Friday night, Byers said.
In postings to a Facebook page believed to be Colver's, in which he goes by the nickname 'Boston,' friends had urged Colver to turn himself in.
"You've got to quit running. We're all worried about you here," one friend wrote. "Please, Boston, you once told me that you would never be capable of such a thing. Prove me right. Prove yourself right. For me?"
Video Courtesy Of CBS Affiliate CBS13 West Sacramento